When you start counting calories and watching your carb intake, the awareness of what your body is taking in is nothing short of eye-opening. Each sip and bite adds up quickly. A night out with friends can easily get out of control once you share appetizers, have a couple of drinks, and arrive at the main course, and that’s not including dessert.
Achieving wellness goals comes with a lifestyle change and cutting out foods and behaviors that are holding you back. When it comes time to consider what you need to cut from your diet, you might be tempted to give up some of the very things you enjoy most, like your cocktails, but that’s no fun.
Here’s the thing: You don’t have to give up your favorite drink. Not all cocktails have to be loaded with sugar and carbs. Before you roll your eyes and think the healthier beverage won’t have any flavor, hear us out: It can be done. To prove our point, we’ve found 10 low-carb cocktail recipes for you to try at your next get-together. From a coconut gin and tonic to a cantaloupe daiquiri, these low-carb cocktails will hit the spot without taking away all the fun.
Raspberry Chambord Gin Fizz
This raspberry Chambord gin fizz from Boulder Locavore is the perfect addition to a heavy meal since it’s light and simple. Unlike other gin fizz cocktails, this version doesn’t include an egg white—it gets its effervescence from club soda. Instead of added sugar, it gets its sweetness from the Chambord.
Made from only four ingredients, this vodka watermelon cocktail from Joyful Healthy Eats is only 136 calories a serving. Perfect for the summer, this drink uses frozen watermelon, coconut water, lime juice, and, of course, vodka. If you’d like, you can up the ingredients list to five items by garnishing the drink with a refreshing sprig of mint.
Coconut Gin and Tonic
This coconut gin and tonic from Minimalist Baker includes only four ingredients: coconut water, gin, tonic water, and lime. One serving runs 179 calories, so you won’t run into some of the usual woes in treating yourself. Since this recipe isn’t dependent on seasonal fruit, you can be refreshed by it all year long.
Grapefruit, vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup shake together for Melanie Makes' rosemary greyhound cocktail. While greyhounds typically list grapefruit and vodka, this one’s rosemary syrup sets it apart and gives it a woodsy taste, perfect from transitioning from summer to the holiday season. The best part? It’s 110 calories a serving.
Named for author Ernest Hemingway, this citrusy cocktail is inspired by tastes from El Floridita, the bar in Cuba that Hemingway frequented. While daiquiris typically involve a lot of sugar, this Hemingway Daiquiri from Boulder Locavore doesn’t get caught up in sweetness—it draws from fresh citrus juices and Luxardo instead. The result is a refreshing cocktail that is guilt-free.
Sunny Cilantro Cucumber Vodka
If you’re looking for a complex but fresh cocktail, this sunny cilantro cucumber cocktail from Pickled Plum is it. In a single sip, you’ll taste grassy and floral notes as well as a little fruity sweetness. If cilantro isn’t your thing, Caroline Phelps recommends swapping it out with either basil or mint.
Rhubarb Strawberry Margaritas
Margaritas may make happy hour a little happier, but they’re typically loaded with sugar. This rhubarb-strawberry margarita from Minimalist Baker is low in sugar per serving, drawing from rhubarb and strawberry for natural sweetness. The fruit also gives a vibrant natural color, so you won’t need to worry about the dyes sometimes used in margarita mixes.
Peach Martini with Raspberry
This simple peach martini recipe from Food Faith Fitness is best shaken and stirred, according to Taylor Kiser. This sugar-free recipe calls for peach schnapps, fresh peaches, seltzer water, and raspberry vodka. While you can rim your martini glass with a little extra cane sugar, that’s up to you. We won’t judge.
Pomegranate Spiked Cava
This pomegranate-spiked cava cocktail from Pickled Plum is a great excuse to get a little pomegranate in your life. The bubbly cava causes the pomegranate seeds to dance up and down your champagne flute, and the freshly grated ginger adds an extra kick. Perfect as an after-dinner drink, the pomegranate-spiked cava is a solid mix of fruity, acidic, dry, and spicy.
According to How Sweet Eats author Jessica Merchant, this cantaloupe daiquiri is a “legit daiquiri,” not one of those fake, sugary ones. In it, the light, subtle flavor of cantaloupe is complemented by white rum and cherry juice. The fruit gives the beverage a light orange color that’s perfect for summer or fall.